Just a few weeks ago, I finally dinged 80 on my Warlock. But I was kind of at a loss. I had a reasonably good leveling/solo Demonology spec to minimize downtime. Sure, I had a few ideas of what a good level 80 spec might be (WoWwiki is a great starting place). But what I didn’t know is; How do I maximize my potential as a fresh 80? So, I asked Fulguralis over at Killing ’em Slowly for some help, given that Emblem of Triumph gear is the order of the day.
Now, I’ve been playing a mage for about four years now. And fortunately with the growth of the WoW community, there are all sorts of resources available – but most of it is for optimizing raiding specs, etc.
So, I realized that there really isn’t any RECENT (or updated) “Fresh 80” mage guides. Well, that is until I found Empowered Fire. The ladies over there have done a fantastic and thorough job compiling information for new level 80 mages. You can click here and overload yourself with excellent information. Advice on gems, specs, and everything.
But there’s one thing about EF’s guide; They left out most/all of the Emblem of Triumph gear. To a certain degree, it makes sense, as it will take a little while to have enough EoT’s to get yourself fully suited up.
But that’s what this post is for: Given that Tier 9 gear is readily available through EoT’s – What is the best plan of action? What should one do to make the most of your Tier 9 and Emblem gear?
(Author’s Note: The following is an opinion piece with lots of rambling, basic mage theorystuffs, and no data to back anything up. 🙂 )
First and foremost, everyone is going to tell you “play the spec you want.” And I heartily agree.
But if you’re trying to get the most bang for your T9 buck – spec Fire*.
Now why Fire? They have no talents for +hit, meaning they need to be at 17% (446 hit rating) for raids and 6% (158 hit rating) for heroics. Also, Arcane is the reputed highest DPS output. WTF, Darth?!
Well, like I said – we’re basing this off of the assumption that we’re buying stuff with EoT’s. Which means we’re buying Tier 9 gear. Take a look at the gear: Horde Version / Alliance Version. In particular, look at the set bonus:
2 pieces: Increases the armor you gain from Ice Armor by 20%, the mana regeneration you gain from Mage Armor by 10%, and adds an additional 15% of your Spirit in critical strike rating when Molten Armor is active. 4 pieces: Increases the critical strike chance of your Fireball, Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, Arcane Missiles, and Arcane Blast spells by 5%.
Those bonuses affect nothing but Critical Strike. And there is only one spec that thrives off of Crit. As you have probably guessed or have learned – it’s Fire. It’s because a good portion of Fire’s dps output depends on the Hot Streak proc. Insta Pyroblasts for some crazypew-pew!
That said, you may want to hold off on your fire spec until you get at least two of those tier pieces (probably the head and chest, as those are the pieces with +hit rating). Let me assure you, trying to get max hit for raiding can often be a pain in the arse (and sometimes expensive for gems) – but it’s definitely achieveable.
You may also be wondering if you should buy the whole 5 piece set; and I would probably say “No” to that. I suggest that you skip the shoulders and instead purchase these (or their Alliance counterpart) because of the increased +Crit and +hit.
Going forward from here, I would focus your gear choices with priority on +hit (until capped) > +spellpower > +crit > +spirt (coverts to crit with Molten Armor) > +haste.
Gems – socket for spellpower. If you like to go for socket bonuses, they vary in value. +7 spellpower (or higher) socket bonuses are pretty much always worth it. +5 SP is debateable, but it won’t hurt if you do (or don’t) socket for that bonus. Less that +7 crit is probably a waste. +Spirit and +haste are typically a waste for, as they usually aren’t substantial enough. +Hit socket bonuses are only worth it if you need more. In short, if you’re going for socket bonuses:
- Meta Gem (for any mage, really) – Chaotic Skyflare Diamond
- Red sockets – Runed prefix
- Yellow sockets – Potent prefix (orange)
- Blue sockets – Purified prefix (purple)
- NOTE – Remember to have at least two Purified gems to get use of your Meta gem.
Enchants – Spellpower for everything, or +hit if you need it. Now, one exception is the cloak – ironically, the +haste enchant is likely your best choice (there is no decent +SP enchant). But if your professions will tweak your spellpower, it’s best to take it (ie: Lightweave Embroidery or Springy Arachnoweave). And another exception is for booties – Icewalker, but only if you need the +hit. Otherwise, Tuskarr’s Vitality. No, it doesn’t directly improve your DPS, but you will get within range of a boss or out of a fire faster – which means you’re casting sooner and more often. Again, if you have a profession that will give you +spellpower, it’s usually best to take it. Tailors can also sell you the +SP/+Spirit legging enchant.
So, with all that, I think you’ll be able to be able to make the most use out of the “free epix” Emblem gear currently available. It may take a bit to get there, but once you are, you’ll be able to churn out some pretty solid numbers that will keep you competitive for pretty much any pug you take part of.
* – (I may have screwed up the Fire spec, but the WoWhead links that Empowered Fire and WoWwiki offered were broken. I think I got it right. Also, as per comments, the spec has been edited to use Glyph of Fireball instead of Scorch and I have deleted any evidence about suggesting Glyph of Scorch. 🙂 )